Queensland coach Wayne Bennett names nine rookies in initial 15-man squad

Brimson was joined in the Queensland squad by Gold Coast teammates Jai Arrow, Moeaki Fotuaika and Phillip Sami, eclipsing Brisbane’s representation (Patrick Carrigan and Xavier Coates) after Bennett’s old club finished with the wooden spoon.

Harry Grant has also been included in Bennett’s squad after he took over the reins when Kevin Walters accepted Brisbane’s head coaching role.

The Dragons’ Josh Kerr has emerged as a bolter in Wayne Bennett’s Queensland squad.Credit:Getty

“We’ve got an exciting mix of both emerging and seasoned talent in the squad so far and we’re really pleased to be able to announce this group [on Wednesday] after what has been a challenging period for the game,” Bennett said.

“The players named in this squad will have a small window to freshen up before commencing work with our high performance team to ensure they are in peak condition for the series.”

Queensland selectors will confirm a squad of 27 after the NRL grand final later this month. The Origin side will be aided by experienced coach Neil Henry, who has taken over as assistant coach from Justin Hodges.

Queensland squad: Jai Arrow (Titans), AJ Brimson (Titans), Moeaki Fotuaika (Titans), Phillip Sami (Titans), Edrick Lee (Knights), Hymel Hunt (Knights), Kalyn Ponga (Knights), Valentine Holmes (Cowboys), Coen Hess (Cowboys), Xavier Coates (Broncos), Patrick Carrigan (Broncos), Ben Hunt (Dragons), Josh Kerr (Dragons), Harry Grant (Tigers/Storm), Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles).

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